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Online Grad Program Trains Community Ed Staff

Editor's Note: For more information contact: Deborah Wulf, marketing manager, outreach and graduate studies, UW-River Falls, 715/425-0680,

APRIL 15, 2005--The competition for federal funds among after-school programs is fierce. Having well-trained community education directors and after-school coordinators may make the difference on winning financial support, according to Stanley Potts, Ph.D., past president of the Wisconsin Community Education Association.

"Today, the programs with highly trained staff are likely to emerge as winners in the race for adequate funding," said Potts, of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. "The shortage of formal, learning opportunities for staff working in community education and after-school programs hasn’t helped."

To meet the need for training, Potts assisted the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in developing an online, graduate certificate in community education. The University developed this program in partnership with the National Community Education Association, the premier professional organization for community education staff. Students earn the graduate certificate by completing four, three-credit courses and one independent project.

"All course work is provided via the Internet and other distance-learning tools, making it accessible to students everywhere," said Potts. "The compressed course schedule is also a popular feature. Colleagues from around the country will follow the same schedule and complete the program together, within one year."

In December 2004, Christy Lewis of Gloucester, Virginia, was the first student to complete the graduate certificate. A community education director, Lewis said she appreciated the flexibility that UW-RFs’ online courses afforded her.

"The online format allowed me to pursue graduate level courses and course work in a convenient and flexible learning format," she said.

The online format means that students pay the tuition of a Wisconsin resident, which is often considerably less than comparable institutions around the country, said Potts.

A new cohort of students will begin with the start of the introductory course in June. An optional, live teleconference on June 28 will help familiarize students to the online software used and the course content.

All participants need to apply and meet the minimum requirements for graduate study at UW-RF before registering for classes. Visit the Web site at http:/ or call the UW-RF Graduate Studies Office at (715) 425-3843 or (800) 228-5607 for more information.

UW-RF is a member of the prestigious University of Wisconsin System of colleges and universities. With a national reputation for excellence in teacher education, UW-RF consistently provides high-quality, innovative and learner-centered courses and programs. Located in western Wisconsin just 30 minutes east of Minneapolis/St. Paul, UW-RF has approximately 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students in more than 40 programs in four colleges: Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Business and Economics, and Education and Professional Studies.



Last updated: Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:22 Central Daylight Time

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